Brett Forte’s killer ‘convinced police were out to get him’

The crazed gunman who killed senior constable Brett Forte was "convinced police were out to get him" and was asked to surrender more than 80 times before he was fatally shot, a court has heard.

The Brisbane Coroners Court was also told that the Crime and Corruption Commission investigated allegations that police had wanted gunman Rick Maddison dead after an anonymous tip-off.

The CCC found the allegations were without merit and would not be examined further in the long-awaited coronial inquest, which is expected to be held in Toowoomba early next year.

Senior Constable Forte was murdered Maddison who ambushed him and other officers in May 2017, just outside Toowoomba.

 

Maddison, 40, was then involved in a 20-hour stand-off with the Special Emergency Response Team before he was shot and killed by confronting officers after they asked him to surrender 85 times.

State Coroner Terry Ryan was told at a pre-inquest hearing this morning that there were a "series" of incidents that sparked the tragic chain of events and stoked Maddison's rising paranoia about police.

In 2015, Maddison was charged with 17 serious domestic violence offences including torture, assault and deprivation of liberty allegedly committed against his ex-partner.

When his former partner did not attend the committal hearing, the charges were dropped but Maddison was "disgruntled by the process".

"He was convinced police were out to get him and he was being unfairly targeted," Counsel assisting the coroner Rhiannon Helsen said.

When another complaint was made by his ex-partner in March 2017, police tried to re-charge Maddison with the original offences and issued a warrant for his arrest after he "went off the grid".

The court heard he became increasingly paranoid two weeks before the siege, when Toowoomba police began conducting increasing patrols to find him.

Maddison phoned Toowoomba's Criminal Investigation Branch on May 24, 2017 and could be heard punching the telephone box while he told police they were harassing his family.

Three days before Sen Const Forte was shot, Maddison found a covert camera near his property.

The camera had been installed by Gatton officers, without the knowledge of Toowoomba police, as part of investigation into gunfire in the area.

"It seems likely that the discovery of this camera fuelled Maddison's paranoia with respect of police and the likelihood of a possible confrontation," Ms Helsen said.

Ms Helsen said on the day of the siege, Maddison used a public payphone on Lindsay Street to call the Toowoomba police station about 1.15pm.

The court was told an agitated Maddison spoke with Sen Const Forte before asking for a more senior officer.

Maddison told the officer he refused to surrender and he was a "broken man" who did not want to go to jail.

Police authorised a slow pursuit of Maddison after his vehicle was spotted in Toowoomba shortly, deploying two sets of stingers which failed to stop him.

When Maddison exited onto Forestry Road, Ringwood, Sen Const Forte followed in a 4WD vehicle with his partner.

Dashcam footage showed that at 2.18pm, Maddison stopped his vehicle outside the property and opened fire on the car, shooting 27 rounds into the police car which rolled down an embankment.

Sen Const Forte died of gunshot and shrapnel wounds, the court was told.

During the 20-hour siege that followed, Maddison fired at police and Polair more than 20 times before he was shot dead.

The court was told an array of weapons and a "stockpile of ammunition" was later found in Maddison's stronghold.

During the hearing at court this morning, Ms Helsen requested that the inquests into both men's death be held jointly because they were "inextricably linked".

The inquest was set down to begin as early as next month but was pushed back after the court head the "voluminous" brief was 19,000 pages long.

The court was told it would likely go ahead in Toowoomba early next year.

Ms Helsen said 25 witnesses would be called to give evidence over "five to seven" days.

The court heard the inquest would investigate the police pursuit and attempted arrest of Maddison, the strategies used by negotiators during the siege and whether changes could be made to prevent similar deaths.

 

Senior Constable Brett Forte’s parents Stuart and Heather Forte.
Senior Constable Brett Forte’s parents Stuart and Heather Forte.

 

It will also consider the adequacy of the investigation into the deaths of both men conducted by officers from the Queensland Police Service Ethical Standards Command.

They will also look at whether any preventive changes to procedures or policies could reduce the likelihood of deaths.

The inquest has been a long time coming for Sen Constable Forte's family.

His father Stuart Forte, who is a retired police officer, told The Courier-Mail earlier this year that the lengthy time frame had been difficult for the family.

Originally published as Brett Forte's killer was 'convinced police were out to get him'

Senior Constable Brett Forte was killed in May 2017.
Senior Constable Brett Forte was killed in May 2017.

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